Libyan Rebel Leader Founder of International Terrorist Organization

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Sep 03, 2011 11:10 AM

As the world continues to wonder just where Gadhafi is hiding, things in Libya aren't looking very promising considering Libyan rebel leader, Islamist Abdel Hakim Belhaj, is a founding member of an international terrorist organization listed by the U.S. State Department. From the Daily Beast:

Belhaj is a founding member and former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is listed by both the U.S. State Department and the British Home Office as an international terrorist organization. Several past or present LIFG members have held prominent positions in al Qaeda, including operations chief Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, who was recently killed in a CIA drone attack. The LIFG is hardly Libya’s only militant Islamist force, but it’s easily the biggest and very possibly the most dangerous.

Belhaj himself makes no secret of having met Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s, back when they were both fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. Even so, he denies any sympathy for al Qaeda’s aims. “Meeting with a person with a specific ideology doesn’t mean I agree with that ideology,” Belhaj told The Daily Beast. “I didn’t go to Afghanistan to fight with bin Laden. I went to Afghanistan to support the Afghans and fight with them.”

But Belhaj’s claims of innocence haven’t quelled the world’s fears about what he and his fellow Islamists might do. No one is sure how strong they are or whether they’re plotting to seize power.

We'll see how far those democracy and freedom claims go once a constitution based on Shariah Law is implemented in Libya, with the backing and funding of the United States.